An empirical look at software patents
AbstractU.S. legal changes have made it easier to obtain patents on inventions that use software. Software patents have grown rapidly and now comprise 15 percent of all patents. They are acquired primarily by large manufacturing firms in industries known for strategic patenting; only 5 percent belong to software publishers. The very large increase in software patent propensity over time is not adequately explained by changes in R&D investments, employment of computer programmers, or productivity growth. The residual increase in patent propensity is consistent with a sizeable rise in the cost effectiveness of software patents during the 1990s. We find evidence that software patents substitute for R&D at the firm level; they are associated with lower R&D intensity. This result occurs primarily in industries known for strategic patenting and is difficult to reconcile with the traditional incentive theory of patents
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia in its series Working Papers with number 03-17.
Date of creation: 2004
Date of revision:
Other versions of this item:
- James Bessen & Robert M. Hunt, 2007. "An Empirical Look at Software Patents," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 16(1), pages 157-189, 03.
- NEP-ALL-2004-09-05 (All new papers)
- NEP-BEC-2004-09-05 (Business Economics)
- NEP-INO-2003-09-08 (Innovation)
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